Wine Glossary

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There are 23 names in this directory beginning with the letter D.
Dao (dah'-oh)
One of the principal wine regions of Portugal. It is known for its well aged red wines.

Decant
To transfer wine from a bottle into a crystal or glass container (a Decanter). This is primarily done with older red wines and Port which have developed sediment. The careful transfer of the wine into a fresh container allows the sediment to be left in the original bottle resulting in clearer wine.

Decanter
The glass or crystal container that one Decants into. In practice it could be a clean bottle; however, tradition dictates that it be an impressive vessel for the wine.

Degree Days
Also known as the "heat summation method." A scale created by the University of California at Davis in the 1930s to determine the suitability for vineyards in any given climate. Modern instrumentation has largely supplanted this scale. The total accumulative number of degrees above 50F during the growing season. If the temperature for any given day rises to 70F that day would add 20 points to the summation. Over the 200 days of the California growing season the total would range from less than 2,500 degrees days for the coolest areas, classified as Region I, to region V with more than 4,000 degree days.

Demi-Sec (deh-mee seck)
Literally this French term means "half-dry." In practice it refers to the sweetest style of Champagne a house will make.

Demijohn
Any very large bottle, usually around 10 gallons. Often used by amateur wine makers as a vat or storage container. May be covered in straw or rest in a wooden frame. From the French "Dame Jeanne" which has the same meaning.

Denominacion de Origen (deh-noh-mee-nah-th'yon' deh oh-ree-hen')
The Spanish term for their appellation laws. Established first for the wine growing region of Rioja in 1926. Often abbreviated DO.

Denominazione do Origine Controllata (deh-noh-mee-nah-t'zee-oh'-neh dee oh-ree-jeen-eh con-troh-lah'-tah)
The Italian term for their appellation laws, established in 1963. Abbreviated DOC.

Denominazione do Origine Controllata e Garantita (eh gah-rahn-tee-tah)
The highest level of the Italian DOC laws. The wines must not only be typical of their region, but must pass a blind tasting. The first wines that began using this designation went on sale in the mid 1980s. Abbreviated DOCG.

Dessert Wine
Legally, in the US, this refers to fortified wines such as Port or Sherry, but also to the very inexpensive "more bang for your buck" sweet wines that are the favorite of college students and the stereotypical "bowery bum." In fine wine terms it refers to those wines that are destined to be enjoyed after a meal. All of the wines of this class are sweet but well balanced. They include the Sauternes of France, the Beerenauslese and Trokenneerenauslese of Germany as well as similar wines from most growing regions of the world. Port and a few other fortified wines are often considered Dessert Wines, while Sherry and other drier fortified wines are more properly Aperitifs.

Dezaley (deh-zah-lay)
One of the most celebrated white wines of Switzerland. Created on the shores of Lake Geneva from the Chesselas grape.

Disgorging
The process of removing the sediment from sparkling wine as the final step of the method champenoise. All of the sediment that has been building up in the bottle over the years has ended up in the neck of the bottle. The bottle is plunged into a freezing brine solution, and ice forms in the bottle. The top is removed and the "plug" of ice is forced out by the pressure in the bottle. A small amount of wine is lost, and is replaced by other wine that has been mixed with sugar. This "dose" of sugar (or in French "dosage") determines how sweet the final sparkling wine will be. The French term is degorgement (deh-gorje-mon).

Doctor (dock'-tohr)
One of the most famous vineyards in Germany. Located in the village of Berkastel on the Mosel river. Bernkastler Doctor, as it is usually referred to, is planted entirely with Riesling.

Dolcetto (dohl-chet'-oh)
One of the principal grapes of Northwestern Italy. The best known wines made from this variety bear its name.

Dole (dole)
The most highly regarded red wine of Switzerland. Made from the Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes, it is a light refreshing wine.

Domaine (doe-mehn)
The French term for "estate." A term that can cause a great deal of confusion, especially in Burgundy, France. There are several similar sounding phrases that each seem to suggest the wine is estate bottled. Look for these phrases: • Mise du domaine • Mis en boutille a la domaine • Mis en boutille a la propriete

Domane (doe-may'-nuh)
A rarely used German term for "Estate." Mostly reserved for state-owned vineyards.

Dosage (doh-saj)
The addition of sugar and wine to sparkling wine after disgorging. The amount of sugar added determines the style of the sparling wine.

Dry
The opposite of sweet in wine parlance. This term is used to denote a wine that has no residual sugar. Often this word is misused to refer to a wine with a minimal amount of "fruit." Most wines are dry with sweeter varieties being primarily white.

Dry Creek Valley
A northern Sonoma wine producing region; well respected for the Zinfandel that is grown there.

Dry Extract
A technical wine tasting term. If you place wine in a centrifuge and remove all of the water, the powder that is left will be the dry extract. The amount of flavor that a wine has can be directly attributed to the dry extract. The body of the wine is also a function of dry extract. A chemist would call this "ash".

Dulce (dool'th-eh)
Literally "sweet" in Spanish, the term usually refers to the sweeting agent added to some Sherry.

Dumb
A wine tasting term to mean a wine that is not showing up to its potential. Dumb in this context refers not to intelligence but inability to speak. While trying to avoid words that are anthropomorphic, this one seems particularly well suited.


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